Minorities more likely to be disciplined in school, says MU professor

1 year 4 months 23 minutes ago Wednesday, September 20 2017 Sep 20, 2017 Wednesday, September 20, 2017 2:42:00 PM CDT September 20, 2017 in News
By: Daniel Litwin, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA – Colleges and universities are probably discriminating against minority students in their enforcement of Title IX policies and other disciplinary processes, says one MU professor.

MU associate law professor Ben Trachtenberg is releasing a new article early next year in the Nevada Law Journal that he hopes brings to light a data issue with higher education.

“It’s been discovered and observed for years and years and years that black students are disproportionately likely to be suspended or expelled from public schools,” Trachtenberg said.

Unfortunately, this data doesn’t exist at the University of Missouri.

“I realized that we don’t have any numbers like that at the University of Missouri, and that’s not because Mizzou is unusual.” Trachtenberg said.

Trachtenberg found higher education across the country doesn’t compile disciplinary data based on race or ethnicity at all, and he said there are several factors at play.

“I think for a lot of universities it simply didn’t occur to anyone to keep [the data]. At some other universities, folks might be afraid of being embarrassed, because no one wants to collect data that shows they’re treating people differently on the basis of race,” Trachtenberg said.

Trachtenberg also said there might be a fear of litigation if universities start collecting that information.

“If they happen to keep data that shows racial disparities, someone might then complain,” Trachtenberg said.

Trachtenberg says in his article there are massive racial disparities in student discipline at K-12 schools and in the justice system, citing research collected in Columbia that says black students are expelled and suspended three times more than white students in public schools.

“In my mind, it would be a miracle if colleges and universities were the one place where implicit biases and other factors didn’t lead to racially disparate impact,” Trachtenberg said.

Adia Woodson, president of MU's NAACP chapter, agrees with Trachtenberg's concerns.

"I think it would be nice to just know who is getting in trouble for what or what people are getting in trouble for and seeing the number of people that do so," Woodson said. "Numbers don't lie...actually knowing is much better than assuming. I think the data definitely needs to be made public."

Woodson blames media portrayal of black people as "criminals, thugs and gangsters" as part of the problem, and that with these kinds of issues, it usually comes down to subconscious implicit biases.

"It's not intentional, it's a product of how we were raised," Woodson said. "It ultimately kind of leaves in people's minds, 'oh, well, maybe he is a bad person,' and not always seeing the better side of someone because you've always seen the bad side of this race of people."

Most universities already compile demographic data for their students, and Trachtenberg said it wouldn’t be difficult for universities to record similar information for students who receive disciplinary action.

“That doesn’t mean that people’s individual discipline cases are going to be exposed to the public. We can respect student privacy while still releasing aggregate data like they do in the public schools,” Trachtenberg said.

He also said it goes beyond just Title IX; it affects all disciplinary processes.

"If a student gets suspended for academic dishonesty or getting drunk and vomiting on the chancellor's lawn, we might as well track the demographics of that so we can see what are the patterns,” Trachtenberg said. 

When he realized the data didn't exist for higher education, he decided to do more research on his own.

Trachtenberg hopes to make his conclusions known to the federal government. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is planning to open a period of public comment on Title IX reform, and Trachtenberg said he will send in his findings to hopefully incite some change.

Woodson is thankful that people are promoting this kind of discourse.

"Whenever it comes to anything that has to do with race, people are always afraid to talk about it, but there's no fixing the problem without talking about it," Woodson said. "It's important that we're having these conversations."

Trachtenberg’s article will be published in the Nevada Law Journal by March 2018.

More News

Grid
List
CHICAGO (AP) — Activists and others who were disappointed by the outcome of two historic cases involving the killing... More >>
6 hours ago Sunday, January 20 2019 Jan 20, 2019 Sunday, January 20, 2019 7:23:00 AM CST January 20, 2019 in News
FULTON - The McDonald's on Business 54 was evacuated Saturday evening after a man threatened to shoot everyone, police said.... More >>
13 hours ago Sunday, January 20 2019 Jan 20, 2019 Sunday, January 20, 2019 12:29:00 AM CST January 20, 2019 in News
HOLTS SUMMIT - The weather conditions on Saturday made it difficult to put out a two-story house fire, firefighters said.... More >>
14 hours ago Saturday, January 19 2019 Jan 19, 2019 Saturday, January 19, 2019 11:10:00 PM CST January 19, 2019 in News
BOONE COUNTY - Firefighters say no one was injured after a house fire Saturday evening on North Jennings Road near... More >>
14 hours ago Saturday, January 19 2019 Jan 19, 2019 Saturday, January 19, 2019 10:59:00 PM CST January 19, 2019 in News
MOBERLY - The Moberly Police Department is investigating a potential threat to Moberly Middle School. In a post on... More >>
17 hours ago Saturday, January 19 2019 Jan 19, 2019 Saturday, January 19, 2019 8:00:00 PM CST January 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Finally something other than snow and clouds will be in the sky, a lunar eclipse! The only total... More >>
18 hours ago Saturday, January 19 2019 Jan 19, 2019 Saturday, January 19, 2019 7:08:00 PM CST January 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Dozens of marches and rallies were held across the nation Saturday, including one in mid-Missouri. This weekend... More >>
19 hours ago Saturday, January 19 2019 Jan 19, 2019 Saturday, January 19, 2019 6:35:00 PM CST January 19, 2019 in News
ROCHEPORT – A professional bull rider who lived in Rocheport died Tuesday evening during a competition in Denver. Mason... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, January 19 2019 Jan 19, 2019 Saturday, January 19, 2019 5:15:00 PM CST January 19, 2019 in News
STE. GENEVIEVE, Mo. (AP) — Missouri roads officials say a 15-vehicle crash has blocked a section of Interstate 55 on... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, January 19 2019 Jan 19, 2019 Saturday, January 19, 2019 5:02:11 PM CST January 19, 2019 in News
(CNN) -- President Donald Trump proposed extending protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients and individuals with Temporary Protected... More >>
21 hours ago Saturday, January 19 2019 Jan 19, 2019 Saturday, January 19, 2019 3:51:44 PM CST January 19, 2019 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — Seeking a shutdown solution, President Donald Trump was expected to announce Saturday that in exchange for money... More >>
23 hours ago Saturday, January 19 2019 Jan 19, 2019 Saturday, January 19, 2019 2:34:46 PM CST January 19, 2019 in News
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. (AP) — A solemn procession. A long salute. A chaplain's prayer. President Donald Trump... More >>
23 hours ago Saturday, January 19 2019 Jan 19, 2019 Saturday, January 19, 2019 2:12:13 PM CST January 19, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Now that Missouri is entering the medical marijuana industry, two Democratic lawmakers from Kansas City want... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, January 19 2019 Jan 19, 2019 Saturday, January 19, 2019 11:33:37 AM CST January 19, 2019 in News
INDEPENDENCE (AP) — A 36-year-old woman who worked for a subcontractor at the Lake City Ammunition Plant in Independence admitted... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, January 19 2019 Jan 19, 2019 Saturday, January 19, 2019 10:09:12 AM CST January 19, 2019 in News
SUNRISE BEACH - One man is dead after an ATV crash early Saturday morning. According to an online crash... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, January 19 2019 Jan 19, 2019 Saturday, January 19, 2019 8:29:00 AM CST January 19, 2019 in News
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri man was one of the four Americans killed by a suicide bomber in Syria on... More >>
1 day ago Friday, January 18 2019 Jan 18, 2019 Friday, January 18, 2019 7:49:00 PM CST January 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Animal control is urging pet owners to keep their pets inside or in a safe shelter during the... More >>
1 day ago Friday, January 18 2019 Jan 18, 2019 Friday, January 18, 2019 5:02:00 PM CST January 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Salvation Army is providing food assistance for furloughed federal workers through their food pantry. Food assistance is... More >>
1 day ago Friday, January 18 2019 Jan 18, 2019 Friday, January 18, 2019 3:27:00 PM CST January 18, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 16°
2pm 17°
3pm 17°
4pm 17°
5pm 18°